4-H Field Education Facility
Santa Rosa County 4-H Association, Inc.
The University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to help youth gain the knowledge and skills they need to be responsible, productive citizens. This mission is accomplished by creating safe and inclusive learning environments, involving caring adults, and utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida and the nationwide land-grant university system. Through the years, the overall objective of 4-H has remained the same: the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. Learning opportunities include, but are not limited to, astronomy, beekeeping, earth sciences, electronics, fisheries and aquaculture, livestock sciences, wildlife ecology, debating and presentation skills, and government sciences. Santa Rosa County 4-H serves all youth ages 5-18 residing in Santa Rosa County. In 2018, nearly 5,000 youth participated in 4-H programs, such as archery and zoology. About half participated in agriculture projects. The 4-H program is supplemented by 248 adult and 33 teen volunteers.
Currently, Santa Rosa County 4-H program opportunities are somewhat limited due to the lack of a suitable facility. The proposed project is to construct the 4-H Field Education Facility that will expand educational opportunities and facilitate youth outdoor education in the areas of Archery, Horticulture, Entomology, Livestock, Agriculture, and Marine Science. The 3.49 acre parcel of land currently holds the Santa Rosa County Extension office. The construction work includes preparing the site for the new building, removing existing pavement and remaining structures, and building an 88’x36’ pre-engineered metal structure with plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. The building will include a 36’x36’ enclosed area and a 52’x36’ covered exterior pavilion area. The enclosed portion will house a classroom that includes a donated demonstration aquaculture tank, storage area, restroom, and breakroom. The western edge of the building will have adjustable livestock panels ranging from 8’x8’ to 24’x24’. Over the past 12 months, the Santa Rosa County 4-H program has undertaken design and permitting activities and the project is “shovel ready.” The total project cost to complete the Field Education Facility is $204,000. IMPACT 100 funds will be used for the expenses for the construction of the slab, roof, and the exterior shell of a metal building to include plumbing and electrical stubbing for phase two of the building. The remaining building costs are covered through an additional grant received from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the amount of $74,319 and a matching funds commitment from Santa Rosa County in the amount of $75,000. Construction is expected to start as early as November 2019 and take approximately one year.
Santa Rosa County 4-H learning is an active process where young people gain understanding, skills, maturity, identities, and new habits of mind through hands-on experiences. 4-H learning is social and connected to larger, real-world contexts. 4-H learning provides opportunities for youth to use what they have learned to improve their lives and their communities. 4-H learning is experiential and requires active involvement. The impact of this facility will change how youth participants in Santa Rosa County learn and experience 4-H projects. Representative hands-on activities include livestock handling, agriculture, marine science, and archery activities. With the construction of the 4-H Field Education Facility, it is expected that current membership will increase by an additional 500 youth annually and that an additional 25 program activities can be offered annually. Santa Rosa County 4-H will measure 4-H Field Education Facility activities and utilization by youth as well as volunteers.